HARRY, YODA AND YOGA
By Marsha West
August 3, 2007
Quicker than you can say "Quiddich" a wizard's broomstick rocketed to the sky and inscribed a smoke trail message for all the world to see� Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows�has arrived! The long-awaited book was released at the stroke of midnight on July 21, putting an end to the suspense. The Potterites, under Harry's spell for 10 years, now know his fate.
Parents waited in long lines with their youngsters for hours on end so that little Danielle would have first crack at reading the seventh and final book in J. K. Rowling's phenomenally successful Harry Potter series.
Not surprisingly, Deathly Hallows broke sales records becoming the fastest selling book ever, selling more than eleven million copies in the first twenty-four hours following its release. Bookstores offered HP parties to promote the book. Some provided magicians and face painting and handed out goodie bags to their customers. Barnes & Noble in Augusta, Maine held a "Midnight Magic Costume Party" to introduce youngsters to the occult. According to Mike Hein of the Christian Civic League of Maine, "the store held fortune telling readings in its 'Children's Department,' surrounded by children's books and literature. The store employee who read the childrens' fortunes used 'Gypsy Witch' tarot cards which were created by noted French mystic Madame Lenormand in 19th century Europe."
Nothing like learning about the tools of the occult before you're even old enough to attend "Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
No question some parents are OK with exposing their adolescents to occult indoctrination. Perhaps they rationalize that children need to be exposed to new and diverse things. Moms and dads in Augusta, Maine must of thought Madam Marmalade's tarot card reading would be a "good experience." Visiting a fortuneteller makes one more "well rounded."
In Melbourne Australia, twenty lucky The Age readers were among the first to get their hands on a copy of Deathly Hallows by telling why they love the Potter books so much. Here's what Stefanie says:
"The Harry Potter books have meant a lot to me because they have taught me values in life. They have taught me that you should stand up for what you believe in and always fight for those who you love. They have taught me to take risks and chances that could help people who you care for and things that you want to accomplish in the near future. When reading the books I feel like I am standing right in front of Harry Potter and his two best friends Hermonie and Ron watching them as they battle against the evil dark wizard, Lord Voldemort. I experience a magical fantasy land like it is all really happening to me and that I am standing in the presents [sic] of Hogwarts and its teachers and students. It makes me believe in magical things and that good can win over evil if you push yourself towards that goal and try your hardest. When Harry battled Voldemort in the Graveyard in the book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry believed in himself to win against Voldemort and to help his friend Sedric's body return home to his family without getting harmed by Lord Voldemort. At times it has helped me get through tough times because I look at Harry and can imagine what things he went through and how hard it must have been for him. It has taught me to believe in myself and never doubt about what I can accomplish."
Personally, I'm not so wild about Harry. I’d rather Christian kids not read the Potter books because Satan would like nothing more than to expose youngsters to pagan practices early on. Set the hook, as they say. And Satan knows what bate works best. Once the hook's set the Prince of Darkness reels us in. Who knew HP would be such a phenomenal success? Satan, of course. He knows human nature -- that humans desire to be like God. The sly ol' serpent knew that a neglected and badly treated orphan, who just happened to be a wizard, would win the minds and hearts of children.
Satan's strategy worked. Somewhere around 325 million HP books are in print. Within the U.S., Borders bookstore sold 1.2 million copies, with another 2.2 million pre-orders being filled by Amazon.com. Unless you live in a cave in Afghanistan your child will happen upon Harry and his friends. Kids marvel at the boy wizard's way with the wand and they naturally want to be like him. And to be like Harry you've got to be able to cast spells and mix up potions. Potions and spells can be used against one's enemies! Knowing magic makes you a force to be reckoned with.
Go ahead and try to protect your kids from Harry and his friends, but you won't be able to, any more than you could protect them from Star Wars, which, by the way, is steeped in New Age mysticism. There's hardly a kid in America who hasn't heard of Yoda, Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Some parents attempt to steer their kids away from all the HP merchandise that's promoted in stores, on the Internet and TV. But you can't shelter your kids from hearing the HP hype anymore than you could shelter them from the Star Wars marketing machine. With all the occult influences in western society, it's nearly impossible to shelter youngsters from it.
So what are parents to do about Harry Potter? The answer is not so simple.
Parents who have studied occult literature in order to better understand it should by all means talk to their kids about the Potter books and explain why they're not permitted to read them, if that's their decision. The dangers of the occult should not be glossed over. Tell it like it is. The Apostle Paul was blunt about it. He said, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:18-21). Pretty harsh words. But people needed to hear it!
In light of the fact that occult indoctrination is a daily occurrence, moms and dads should have ongoing in-depth discussions about why God opposes sorcery and why Christians are to disassociate from it and from anyone who's involved in the world of the occult. Of course this would include so-called Christians who refuse to repent of their sin and give up all occult activities. The Bible explicitly says we are to avoid the magic arts! (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)
Before I go on I need to point out that those who dip into the murky waters of mysticism are looking for some sort of esoteric "experience." Cccultist see it as the study of what they beliee is the deeper truth that exists below the surface. They're looking for "knowledge of the hidden," or "knowledge of the paranormal." The key word is magic. According to answers.com, "Devotees of occultism seek to explore spiritual mysteries through what they regard as higher powers of the mind. The Western tradition of occultism has its roots in Hellenistic magic and alchemy (especially the Hermetic writings ascribed to Thoth) and in the Jewish mysticism associated with the Kabbala."
Magic, astrology, spiritism, divination, witchcraft (modern day Wicca)� basically all encounters with the supernatural world weere considered to corrupt those who engaged in such craft, therefore God decreed that they were not only off-limits, they were "evil." (Leviticus 19:26, 31, Deuteronomy 18:10, 2 Chronicles 33:6)
God opposes sorcery because it appeals to the dark spiritual forces instead of the Living God: "When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?" (Isaiah 8:19) Indeed, why consult spirits? How do you know you can trust them? And for Pete's sake, how do you know you're not encountering a demon? My advice is don't even go there. Contacting spirits opens the door to the demonic realm and is contrary to God's will.
The New Age movement (NAM), which can best be described as the invasion of Eastern mysticism into western society, is the enemy of Christ. NAM has penetrated every aspect of our lives. Hence, Christians must have a pretty thorough understanding of what's behind it. More importantly, familiarize yourself with what Scripture teaches about mysticism.
Many followers of Jesus Christ feel mysticism's no big deal, while others choose the ostrich approach, hiding their heads in the sand, hoping that if they ignore it long enough it will go away. Alarmingly, a growing number of professed Christians participate in Eastern mystical practices. Take for example yoga meditation, which is Eastern in origin. Many evangelical churches now offer "Christian Yoga," which is, as I wrote in a previous article, an oxymoron if there ever was one. Christians who take yoga classes rationalize that because famous pastors, TV personalities, and well-known Christian authors promote meditation, participating in "Christian yoga" must be allowed. The next thing you know those same leaders will promote seances. Gullible believers will learn that "Christian mediums" are contacting the Apostles! Come one, come all, and meet Paul! Sound absurd? Twenty years ago "Christian yoga" would have been unthinkable. But I digress.
Contemporary churches are teaming with biblically challenged Christians who don't seem to care that they're ignorant about God and His ways. It's what I call the "'goin' ta heaven by the skin of my teeth" syndrome. In other words, they want to pass through those pearly gates without growing in their faith. They just want to get inside! As a result of this nonchalant attitude, NAM now has a foothold in mainline churches whose sole purpose is to deconstruct, or reconstruct, historic orthodox Christianity, as the old way of doing church has become passive in our post-modern culture. For them, Christianity must become more palatable to the unchurched.
Emerging Church leaders boast "a movement from the moral to the mystical is necessary." To that end, contemplative (centering) prayer is now marketed to Christians around the globe. Who are these Emergents? Ray Waddle gives us the inside scoop: "'Emergent' folks are Christians who are impatient with rigid megachurch formulas and noisy doctrinal in-fighting.... They're hammering out a theology that's friendly to ancient faith practices (contemplative prayer, labyrinths, hospitality) in a postmodern world of quantum physics, 24/7 media and coffee-house culture."
What exactly is contemplative prayer? "As it is expressed in a modern day movement is mystically (i.e. based on a technique or method) in which one empties the mind of thought through repetition, usually of a word or phrase or focus on the breath. In this case the silence would be an absence of thought, all thought."
Some call CP the "silence." But why not call it what it is? Yoga meditation!
Mysticism's roots extend deep down into the soil of Christendom, thanks largely to the writings of Roman Catholic monks -- Brother Lawrence, William Meninger, Thomas Keating, Thomas Merton (influenced by Buddhist meditation), Brennan Manning and others. Even Protestants are touting contemplative prayer. Pastor and author Rick Warren recommends "breath prayer." According to Lighthouse Trails Research, Warren says breath prayers "help you to practice the presence of God."
Christians have feet of clay. Many can't even explain what they believe and why they believe it yet they'll take time to meditate. This may offend some of you, but most Christians couldn't begin to describe the kind of spiritual damage that may result from yoga meditation if their lives depended on it. Moreover, most believers are so biblically challenged that they're unable to give a response as to why dabbling in witchcraft should be unthinkable for true believers. Followers of Jesus Christ are to "contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 1:3). In Acts 17:11 we're told that the Berean's were of more noble character than the Thessalonians because they "examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Surely the Berean's were familiar with what the Bible says about witchcraft.
One can't help but wonder why so many parents don't mind that their children "love" Harry Potter. Harry and his friends spurn authority and they're willfully disobedient � withhout repentance, mind you. "Young Harry lies a lot," says author Steve Wohlberg, "breaks rules at school, curses, throws temper tantrums, and even drinks 'firewhisky' (he's an underage drinker)." So, how are Christians to respond to this? The Bible says Christians are to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Here's something else for parents to consider. Because of the unparalleled popularity of Potter "Witch training centers have sprung up online modeled after the 'Hogwarts' school, where children will 'be like Harry Potter, go to Hogwarts, take classes, interact, get into trouble, and earn points.' Everything looks like a game, one training description reads, but 'things start to get real.'"
Parents shouldn't be surprised when their youngsters leave Rowling's books on the shelf and go in search of other books on witchcraft where they'll learn ritual magic. Imagine your child creating magic potions and charms, spell-casting (love, money, success, slimming down, and so much more!), and eventually worshiping the Goddess instead of the One true God. There are a gazillion websites that offer wiccan material to anyone who visits the site. Incidentally, when conversing with wiccans, the biblical approach is to treat them with gentleness and respect. And above all, to share Christ with them.
It seems many Christians have forgotten (or they haven't the foggiest notion) that God's people are engaged in an ongoing war against sin and Satan. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood," warns the Apostle Paul, "but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12). Believers need to take this war seriously! If grown-ups are unprepared for the spiritual battle the enemy of Christ is waging, guess who's going to suffer?
serious Christian must continually be on guard "so that you may not
be carried away by the error of the lawless men and fall from your secure
position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ"
(2 Peter 3:17-18). Growing in Christ is a potent weapon against Satan.
To counter evil, God's people must spend time in the Word and prayer.
Children Targeted for Tarot Card Fortune Tellings By Mike Hein
� 2007 Marsha West - All Rights Reserved
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Marsha West is the Founder and Editor of the E-Mail Brigade News Report, an online news report for conservative people of faith. Marsha is a freelance writer specializing in Christian worldview. She is a regular contributor to NewsWithViews.com, Alainsnewsletter.com, CapitolHillCoffeeHouse.com, plus her commentaries appear in MichNews.com and bibleteacher.org.
is also designer and webmaster of a Christian apologetics website, On
Solid Rock Resources. She is currently writing a series of children's
books for homeschoolers. Marsha and her husband reside in historic Jacksonville
No question some parents are OK with exposing their adolescents to occult indoctrination. Perhaps they rationalize that children need to be exposed to new and diverse things.